The ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar requires law schools to fill out an annual questionnaire as part of the ABA accreditation process that has included data on law school expenditures. The section has eliminated the expenditure questions from the 2013 survey. University of Chicago law professor Brian Leiter says the change could have a big impact on the U.S. News and World Report's law school rankings, which count for more than 10% of each school's total score and, he says, have been "the tail that wags the dog" for rankings:
Back in 1999, when U.S. News first adjusted the expenditures data for differences in cost-of-living, the results were dramatic: Baylor and Alabama popped into the top 50, for example, and Boston College and Fordham fell out of the top 25. That year, U.S. News also stopped printing the "faculty resources" (their name for expenditures) rank in the magazine, for it would have made it far too obvious how the ordinal differences between comparable schools in every other respect were an artifact of this single measure. But without the ABA collecting this data, U.S. News will have no check on the accuracy of what schools report; if they don't drop expenditures, this will just open up a new avenue for "creative" reporting and fraud. If they do drop it, as they should have long ago, expect to see Yale lose its #1 spot, expect to see NYU drop, and expect to see state schools like Hastings and Wisconsin rise.